Who are Elizabeth Ann, Mary Ann, Judith, and Frances Jane Chastain? As well as Charles Reno and Peter James Chastain...we don't know! In the early 1930's Dr. P. M. Agee published a lineage/genealogy text, The Agee Family.
In this publication, in the General Addenda, page 330, Dr. Agee writes:
Data which came to hand after the first part of the Record was printed, and which brings to light in somewhat more detail a few items of the genealogy of Mathieu Agee is given here:
John Francis Chastain, of France married Frances Jane Reno or Regnault, or Renaut, daughter of Charles Reno and wife, Ann.
Memo: Much effort has been made to confirm the above in France to no avail. The effort will continue.
The above was reproduced in another Agee genealogical text in 1982. It is apparent that Dr. Agee received this data (no sources noted in the text) after completion of the bulk of his work and could not locate any data to substantiate the material. He was obviously including what he considered speculative data that would require further research, data important to the lineages of the particular families if proven.
The material has been included in numerous other genealogical articles concerning almost all of the surnames mentioned, often times without Dr. Agee's text noted as at least a secondary source. Thus, over the years, the material, having been reproduced countless times, has come to represent fully documented source material.
Many earlier Chastain researchers, coming across this material, came to assume that Capt. Peter James Chastainand Pierre Chastain were the same person. While it may be that the original source of the data did actuallyintend to reference Peter James Chastain as the Huguenot immigrant Pierre Chastain, the parentage given for Peter James is certainly incorrect for that of Pierre.
Likewise, researchers assuming that Peter James and Pierre were the same person, then attributed the siblings of Peter James above to be those of Pierre. Again, the baptismal records of Pierre's siblings do not indicate any like given names, even for the male siblings.
So, from the documentation concerning Pierre Chastain's family, it is apparent that the lineage in Dr. Agee's text is one that is not connected in any manner to Pierre Chastain. That is not to say that those people did not exist or that, for instance, the maiden names noted are not correct, there just isn't any known proof, and we know, if they were actually Chastains, they were not related to Pierre, at least not closely.
Since Dr. Cameron Allen first printed his essay on the Chastain family in 1963 and the formation of The Pierre Chastain Family Association in 1975, numerous attempts have been made by Chastain researchers to prove the above family group; so far this has been unsuccessful.
It is entirely possible that, if these persons were of the surname Chastain, their only relationship to each other was that of a Huguenot background. Chastain and Chastain like spelling surnames were spread throughout France, were somewhat common, and possibly there was just an assumption these people were somehow closely related. Of course, without any real source documentation, even indirect (circumstance), it is very possible that this family group is completely fictitious!!
If anyone has any leads or primary source citations (marriage records denoting maiden names, birth or baptism records, etc.) please contact us, we would dearly love to set the record straight on this group.